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This is the story of a marriage.
Mary Cassatt Miller falls for famous photojournalist Ethan Graham. But it's complicated. For months at a time, Ethan's work takes him to Afghanistan, and Cass, who's passionate about her job in Atlanta, wants a husband who comes home at night. Then, there's the issue of family--he wants one; she doesn't.
What they do want is a life together, so Ethan agrees that after three years, he will stop traveling--whether Cass agrees to children or not. But for Cass, who grew up with a mother who didn't want her and a father who was never home, even thinking about children is troubling.
Now, nine weeks before their third anniversary, Cass wonders whether Ethan will try to squeeze in one final trip to Afghanistan. When he does, she's unsure if he will ever give up the work he loves. And if he won't, well, she will not repeat the life her parents had.
As the clock counts down, it doesn't help that Singer, the artist-bartender, is always
in Atlanta, and the enthralling Setara, the subject of Ethan's most famous photograph, is also
his business partner. Then, a new danger in Afghanistan changes everything.
In this elegant and honest debut novel, Cass and Ethan must navigate that fine line between the things they want for themselves and the life they want together, and it appears that Cass will have to choose one or the other.
"Cynthia Newberry Martin is a tremendous writer, with a Woolfian talent for taking the full measure of small moments. Her work is both subtle and revelatory, and I've been waiting a long time for this book." --Rebecca Makkai
, author of The Great Believers
and Music for Wartime
"Exquisite A gorgeously observed account of one woman's life, lived in our era of global reach, of international obligations, of domestic worries and domestic triumphs too. Cynthia Newberry Martin has found the perfect story through which to share her rare wisdom. Brava " --Robin Black
, author of Life Drawing
"Cynthia Newberry Martin's TIDAL FLATS is written out of the rough wisdom that knows that love is a peculiar, dynamic force, and all we can do against it is to be alert and open and awake. This is a story of making and unmaking and making again, with no neat resolutions or pat answers. It's a beautiful book." -- Paul Lisicky
, author of Later
and The Narrow Door
"For once, a novel of big ideas that is also filled with bold and uncommon events. In Tidal Flats
, Cynthia Newberry Martin, a storyteller at the top of her game, creates a universe of betrayal, compassion, and regret in which two people's love for each other is surpassed only by their loyalty to their convictions. I was glued to the page." --Jacquelyn Mitchard
, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
"With deep insight and unending sensitivity, Cynthia Newberry Martin shows us to ourselves: our penchant for choosing lives that will crack us open, our resilience when our deepest fears come true. In scenes both vivid and emotionally complex, Tidal Flats
excavates the interior of a long term marriage, how it demands the impossible, offers the unimaginable. This book is a stunning, heart-expanding debut. --Pam Houston
, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country
I admire Martin's capacity to render her characters with the dignity of complexity. And I double-admire that she takes that same care with her settings, turning place into a player that has its own "human" heart. The novel swirls with light and love. --Joshua Mohr
, author of Sirens and All This Life